Kerala LDF in crisis

via VR Jayaraj | Thiruvananthapuram-Daily Pioneer published on June 2, 2009

The three-decade old Left Democratic Front (LDF), led by the CPM in Kerala, is facing a serious crisis, thanks to the humiliating defeat in the Lok Sabha polls allegedly caused by the CPM’s hegemonic attitude to front partners, its alliance with Abdul Nasser Madani’s PDP and the image-loss due to the multi-crore SNC Lavalin corruption scandal in which Marxist party secretary Pinarayi Vijayan is the ninth accused.

According to indications being given by top sources in the front, a mutiny is brewing in the LDF, led by a powerful section in the CPI — the second largest partner of the Left coalition. Minor partner RSP, which has one Minister in the LDF Cabinet, in all likelihood, will stand with the CPI. Janata Dal(S), an associate of the Left for the past 35 years, has already left the LDF.

Making it amply obvious that all is not well with the front, the CPI, the second largest constituent of the LDF, has publicly rejected the CPM theory that the CBI case against Pinarayi over the SNC Lavalin scandal is politically motivated. If the State Governor chooses to permit the prosecution of the CPM secretary in the case — a decision could come any time now — that would mark the start of a crucial war in the LDF.

The CPI has warned the CPM that its hegemonic attitude would no longer be allowed in the LDF. It has made clear that the unilateral and arbitrary acts of the CPM, like the takeover of the Janata Dal (S)’s seat from it — which made that party an enemy of the LDF — could not be tolerated anymore. With the CPM house itself in total disorder, that party would no more be able to contain the trouble with ease.

The unity and cohesion in the LDF would be at peril if the Governor permits the prosecution of Pinarayi in the SNC Lavalin case even after all the machinations by the CPM which forced the Cabinet to suggest exemption of the party secretary from prosecution. If the CPM hesitates to remove Pinarayi from the post of secretary even after the Governor permits his prosecution, it would lead to mutiny in the party itself and an open war in the LDF.

In case the Governor permits Pinarayi’s prosecution, the CPI, RSP and the enemies of Pinarayi in the CPM, led by Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan, would go all out against him and the camp led by him, who are being accused of leading the entire Left front into an electoral rout with its harebrained but arrogant ideas. The problem with the Left in such a context will be that it will not be able to face the people as local bodies elections are due in a little over a year and the Assembly election in two years.

The LDF in Kerala is in such dire straits that it is still unable to schedule a meeting for analysing the poll results. The responsibility of convening a meeting of the front is with the CPM, but that party knows that it will be facing serious allegations to which there will be no plausible answers.

The CPI and RSP are waiting to take the CPM to task for its unilateral decision to bring in Abdul Nasser Madani’s PDP, to project Pinarayi, accused in the SNC Lavalin case as chief campaigner, takeover of the Janata Dal(S)’s Kozhikode seat estranging that party from the Left front, etc. Allegations against the CPM would also come up for its arbitrary decisions on poll strategies and the total exemption of coalition partners from campaigns.

The Achuthanandan faction in the CPM, the CPI and the RSP are of the opinion that the Pinarayi group in the CPM had gone to poll campaign as though there was no front at all. “Pinarayi decided how the campaign should go. He decided who all – including Madani and his deputy Poonthura Siraj – should speak in each campaign meeting. The official CPM leadership had behaved as though LDF meant just them. We need some hard answers for all these,” said a State council member of the CPI.

He pointed out that Pinarayi and his men were even now not ready to admit the mistakes. The CPM secretary was still arguing that the association with Madani was beneficial when poll results gave a totally different picture. “But the CPM will have to admit its mistakes sooner or later. Otherwise, this front would not be there,” the CPI leader added.

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